Longmont Estates teacher named finalist for state Teacher of the Year

Longmont Estates Elementary fifth-grade teacher Katie Goldsberry said school was always a magical place for her as a student, prompting her to want to create the same magic for the next generation.
"The more you learn, you become open minded," she said. "You become a citizen of not just your community and your state, but your world."
Goldsberry is one of six finalists for the Colorado Teacher of the Year award. The winner is expected to be announced Nov. 1, and will go on to compete in the Teacher of the Year Program.
"These six finalists are all innovative leaders in their school communities and compassionate and inspiring educators in their classrooms," Colorado Education Commissioner Katy Anthes said in a written statement. "Any one of them would be an excellent ambassador for the teaching profession."
Goldsberry is starting her fourth year at Longmont Estates and has been teaching for 13 years, all of them in St. Vrain Valley.
Longmont Estates Principal Traci Haley said she nominated Goldsberry because she is "super dedicated to the success of every single student in her classroom."
"What is so outstanding about her is how much she values student relationships and parent relationships," Haley said. "All her work is filtered through that."
Plus, she said, Goldsberry's thoughtfulness would make her a good spokesperson for the teaching profession and St. Vrain Valley.
"She'll be a great voice for the work that's happening in our district," she said. "She's just awesome."
If she's chosen as the state's teacher of the year, Goldsberry said, she would champion public education. 
"I believe in public schools," she said. "I would be a cheerleader for teachers. It's a difficult job and a huge responsibility to be a leader and role model."
While teaching is challenging, she said, it also is "truly worthwhile."
Plus, she said, it allows her to continue to be a learner.
"As long as I've been teaching, I've always been a student," she said. "It keeps me fresh."
She said her most important role as a teacher is creating a positive climate and strong relationships with students and their families. Building a good climate, she said, starts with honoring student interests and passions.
Her strategies include a daily class meeting where students can share about their lives, leaving them sticky notes on their desks to share something she appreciates about them and even attending students' weekend sports games.
"There's so much work to be done in a day's time, but there's no content more important than community and climate," she said.
She has taught second, third and fifth grades, saying she loves fifth-graders because they have one foot in adulthood and the other in childhood.
"I like helping them navigate those two worlds," she said. "They're so capable of thinking and discussions. They have so much to offer."